Monday, January 24, 2011


With tenure in the lime light I have to ask several questions. Please choose and respond to one (or all if you like).

1. What is the purpose of tenure?

2. If you have tenure, could you live without it?

3. Does tenure hurt our profession? How?

4. Governor Christie wants to abolish tenure and the unions want to make the tenure process more rigorous. Who's right?

Your thoughts are eagerly appreciated!


  1. I've been debating whether to post a comment for this blog. Well, here I am again! These are very good questions and they can be answered from many perspectives--that of the teacher, the administrator and BOE, and the economy.
    I, personally, believe that especially in the economic crisis we are in, tenure protects more experienced teachers from being replaced by teachers whose salaries are much less. Being in that position, I would hate to think that after all of my years of hard work and dedication to the children of Montclair, I would be forced out so that I could be replaced with a lower paid teacher because of our economic crisis.. Tenure also protects those teachers who are just beginning their careers and need the time to grow and establish a degree of experience. I was in that position a long time ago and if I had not been given the additional time, I probably would not have some 41 years in the profession.
    From an administrator's point of view, it is sometimes hard to dismiss those teachers who are not doing the job efficiently and are relulctant to suggestions and direction. In this instance, perhaps tenure should be made more rigorous and dismissal procedures be re-evaluated. Taking the profession of teaching very seriously, I would not want to see teachers allowed to stay in a position if they are not giving it their all. On the other hand, I would not want to see administrators allowing inefficient teachers to continue in the profession as a result of favoritism.
    Does tenure hurt the profession? In times of economic crisis, yes it does. The question frequently surfaces "Why should teachers have job security when others do not?" It can, and has caused hostility towards the teaching profession. However, in better times, teachers salaries do not compare with those of the business sector unless they have been teaching for 40 years. I have nieces and nephews earning six figure salaries with only a few years into their careers. I'm still not at that point with 41 years into the profession. Tenure was and still is one of the benefits of a lower paying service position.
    Should tenure be abolished? I believe it should be made more rigorous. I believe the dismissal procedures under tenure should be re-evaluated and be more attainable . No, I do not believe tenure should be taken away completely. If there is good reason to dismiss a teacher, I'm all for it. But, the standards should be spelled out upon hiring new teachers and the evaluation process should be more rigorous with the possiblilty of more than two observations a year and evaluations being made by other administrators as well as the building principal. I remember when I first started teaching, CO would send administrators out to evaluate us. I think that can make the evaluation process less subjective. As for Governor Christie, let's not get into that!!!

  2. I definitely agree with Ellen, in regard to teaching being the only profession with such job security. However, as she also said, teacher's salaries aren't equivalent to "corporate america" and so, tenure is one of our "perks."

    I definitely think there should be more to tenure than just the 3 years and a day quota. I feel that when so much time passes and the safety in our job is known and comfortable, it's possible to slack and not continue to readily improve and stregthen our craft.

    Clearer observation reviews and criteria would probably help improve tenure folk, into keeping up with the times consistantly. I also think, most observations should be unannounced. I feel that if you're doing your job, it shouldn't matter who comes to your room or when. Obviously, if there is a change in lessons or scheduling, perhaps a re-visit could take place. Anyone can play the part for 45 minutes one to three times a year. What's most important is, what are you doing for each day other than those observations? Are your lessons choc' full of goodies, just like your formal observation?

    Granted, every day/lesson cannot be soup to nuts. I think we need to reflect on our own teaching, to ensure that the important components are always present, rather than selective times throughout the year.

    I think tenure is a double-edged sword. It allows for new, positive change to be added, but it can also hurt us, if we lose veteran, seasoned teachers. Imagine a building full of only new teachers?

    I just don't understand how Governor Christie continues to take away from public schooling, yet our nation has "raised the bar" for education. How can we get better, when so many cuts continue to be made. How contradicting!